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Trinity College Dublin

Personal Information
College Photo Name Bracken, Adrian
Main Department Genetics
College Title Asst Prof in Medical Molecular Genetics
College Tel +353 1 896 4121
Fax +353-1-6798558
Dr. Adrian Bracken is an Assistant Professor at The Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Trinity College Dublin. During his post-doctorate years he gained an international reputation for using Cancer Epigenetics to explore cancer pathways and identify novel prognostic and therapeutic targets. He is a PhD graduate of Trinity College Dublin (2000) and has held fellowships at The European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy and The Biotechnology and Research Innovation Centre at The University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Currently he is consolidating his own independent research group. The lab's most recent two papers include a study on the role of Polycomb group proteins in embryonic stem cells (Brien et al., 2012 NSMB), and the role of the tumour suppressor, CHD5, during neurogenesis.on (Egan et al., Developmental Cell. 2013).
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Description of Research Interests
The group is led by Adrian Bracken and was established in 2008 at the Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Trinity College Dublin. We are studying the molecular mechanisms of stem cells and cancer. Our most recent two papers include a study on the role of Polycomb group proteins in embryonic stem cells, and the role of the tumour suppressor (Cancer brake gene), CHD5, during neurogenesis.
Research Interests
Cancer Genetics Epigenetics Stem Cell Biology
Research Projects
Project title Epigenetic Regulation of Embryonic Stem Cell Differeniation
Summary A major challenge in modern biology is to understand how “cell fate decisions” are regulated in stem and progenitor cells. These decisions govern whether a particular stem or progenitor cell differentiates into one type of cell or another. This question has major implications for regenerative medicine as well as our understanding of the molecular events that lead to cancer. It is becoming increasingly clear that, in addition to genetic alterations, cancer development involves the alteration of gene expression patterns as a result of 'epigenetic' changes (Feinberg et al., 2006). There are already several examples of epigenetic modifiers that are deregulated in cancer, e.g. BRD4 and EZH2 (Dawson and Kouzarides, 2012). The recent advent of “cancer epigenetic therapies”, such as those using BRD4 and EZH2 inhibitors to treat certain types of cancer, have demonstrated that knowledge in this field can lead to tangible successes in cancer treatment. The Polycomb group proteins, which include EZH2, are centrally involved in cell fate decisions. Our central hypothesis is that the deregulation of the function of a set of Polycomb group proteins during cell fate decisions is central to tumour initiation. We are currently experimentally addressing this hypothesis, as well as investigating novel interactions between Polycomb group proteins and other chromatin regulators and DNA binding transcription factors involved in cell fate decisions. The goal is that this research will lead to breakthroughs in our understanding of stem cell biology as well as cancer.
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Project title Transcriptional Regulation of Cellular senescence
Summary Cellular senescence is an irreversible arrest of proliferation. It is activated when a cell encounters stress such as DNA damage, telomere shortening, or oncogene activation. Like apoptosis, it impedes tumour progression and acts as a barrier that pre-neoplastic cells must overcome during their evolution toward the full tumourigenic state. Central to cellular senescence are the p53 and pRb tumour suppressor pathways, which are activated upon cellular stress. We are studying the role of transcriptional regulators in the control of these cellular senescence pathways. Our goal is to harness this knowledge for future cancer therapies.
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Publications and Other Research Outputs
Peer Reviewed
Turner, SA and Bracken AP. , A "Complex" Issue: Deciphering the Role of Variant PRC1 in ESCs., Cell Stem Cell, 12, (2), 2013, p145 - 146
Egan CM, Nyman U, Skotte J, Streubel G, Turner S, O'Connell DJ, Rraklli V, Dolan MJ, Chadderton N, Hansen K, Farrar GF, Helin K, Holmberg J, Bracken AP. , CHD5 is required for neurogenesis and has a dual role in facilitating gene expression and Polycomb gene repression., Developmental Cell., 26, (3), 2013, p223 - 236
Notes: [ Volume 26, Issue 3, 223-236]
Brien GL, Gambero G, O'Connell DJ, Jerman E, Turner SA, Egan CM, Dunne EJ, Jurgens MC, Wynne K, Piao L, Lohan AJ, Ferguson N, Shi X, Sinha KM, Loftus BJ, Cagney G, Bracken AP, Polycomb PHF19 binds H3K36me3 and recruits PRC2 and demethylase NO66 to embryonic stem cell genes during differentiation, Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 19, (12), 2012
Notes: [Nov 18. doi: 10.1038/nsmb.2449. ]
Lanigan F, Geraghty JG, Bracken AP., Transcriptional regulation of cellular senescence, Oncogene, 30, 2011, p2901–2911
Notes: [Pubmed ID: 21383691]
Bracken AP, Helin K., Polycomb group proteins: navigators of lineage pathways led astray in cancer, Nature Reviews Cancer, 9, (11), 2009, p773 - 784
Notes: [Pubmed ID: 19851313]
TARA - Full Text  DOI
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Last Updated:23-SEP-2014